A Mother’s Guide to Nurturing Your Child’s Health: Understanding Ayurveda’s Perspective on Optimal Nutrition.

Posted by Dr. Karthik Pandit

Good nutrition can have an overwhelming effect on your child’s healthy growth. It can help them to sustain a healthy weight sharpen their minds, stabilize their moods, and avoid a range of health issues. Healthy diets can also help establish a foundation for healthy eating habits that your child can follow throughout their life.
Even with a wealth of information available at our fingertips these days, it can be an uphill task at times, to work out healthy eating habits for your child, especially with the junk and convenience food that are being advertised so widely. These foods can put your child at risk of poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections, allergies, asthma the list goes on.

The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda offers a range of natural solutions, that can inculcate healthy dietary habits and maintain optimal health for your child.

Childhood: The Kapha stage of Life

According to Ayurveda, each person is born with a basic constitution or a particular combination of the three doshas that is completely unique to them. These doshas are called vata, pitta, and kapha, and they all have a specific impact on bodily functions.

Irrespective of the body constitution that you are born with, the childhood period of life that lasts between 1-16 age is always predominated by Kapha dosha. Kapha controls the bodily functions and activities of your child’s body, as it grows.

In other words, normal growth and development, which requires generation of new cells and tissues during childhood, is a process that is controlled by kapha. However, this dosha is prone to imbalance and aggravation, which can lead to an excess of mucus in the system.

Kapha Imbalance and childhood vulnerabilities

The human gut is the primary storage house of all the three doshas- including kapha. According to ayurveda, good kapha is located in the upper part of stomach and chest cavity.
However, just as we know that too much of anything is bad. Too much of Kapha can also cause an imbalance that can lead to digestive issues, respiratory and immunological issues. This in turn can make your child susceptible to certain Kapha -related health issues such as frequent colds, flu, allergies, respiratory disorders such as cough, asthma, bronchitis, eczema, etc.

What causes Kapha Imbalance in kids?

Of the various factors that lead to Kapha imbalance, the most common ones are related to food. Inappropriate food choices, such as consuming processed foods, excessive dairy products, fatty and oily food, sugary drinks, sweets etc. can trigger Kapha imbalance.
Overindulgence in such foods can worsen the imbalance and so too can lack of exercise in older children.

Balance Kapha the ayurveda way

A balanced diet, active lifestyle, and the use of certain herbs can help prevent the natural increase in kapha that occurs during childhood from becoming imbalanced.

You can help your child eat the right way.

 The following dietary tips for your children can help you keep the predictable Kapha-imbalances at bay.

Create a relaxed mealtime.

A pleasant mealtime atmosphere e nables your child to focus on eating and can help children develop good eating habits for life.
Give preference to warm home-cooked food.

Warm freshly cooked food that are particularly easy to digest can help balance Kapha. Food cooked at home are any day fresher and healthier than convenience foods and takeaways. Include whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables in your child’s diet.
Space out meal timings
A fixed mealtime for proper digestion and absorption of food is important. Three main meals and a small snack with a gap of three hours can be ideal. Avoid uncontrolled mid meal snacking.
Understand portion sizes.

Portion sizes will depend on your child’s age, and it can help to make sure your child is getting the right amount of food and nutrients. It can also help prevent excess weight gain in children.

Understand Kapha pacifying foods
Kapha can be brought back into balance by opting for kapha balancing foods. This can be achieved by including whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables (except certain fruits and vegetables which increase mucus production). Warm spices and herbs like cinnamon, cumin, black pepper ginger, garlic, can also help balance the dosha.
Avoid Kapha- provoking foods that are sour, salty, sweet, and oily. Sea food needs to be avoided.  Dairy products like chilled milk, sour cream, ice-cream, cheese, etc. needs to be avoided.

1.Why is good nutrition important for children?

Good nutrition is essential for healthy growth in children. It can help them to sustain a healthy weight and avoid a range of health issues. A healthy diet has a profound effect on your child’s sense of mental and emotional wellbeing as well.

2.Can fast food /convenience food affect my child’s health?

Fast food and convenience food are higher in salt, sugar, unhealthy fats, flavorings and food additives and are relatively low in other important nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Increased consumption of these foods can put your child at risk to digestive issues, unhealthy weight gain, accompanying emotional and self-esteem problems, and chronic illnesses in later life.

3.What does Ayurveda say about junk food?

As per Ayurveda junk food can be considered as Viruddha Aahar or incompatible diet which is said to be the cause of many systemic disorders.

4.What aggravates Kapha in Children?

Overindulgence in processed foods, excessive dairy products, fatty and oily food, sugary drinks, sweets, lack of exercise, and excess sleep can aggravate kapha imbalance in children.

5.Should I avoid all dairy products to balance kapha dosha in my kid?

Dairy products like a chilled glass of milk, sour cream, ice cream, cheese etc. needs to be avoided.
Milk, buttermilk and ghee are the safest options when it comes to dairy products. However, milk should be avoided on empty stomach or bedtime and is better when taken in the evening.

6.What are the benefits of ayurvedic treatment for children at UWAY?

Ayurveda provides both preventive and curative health management across all stages of life. Its primary emphasis is on prevention of disease and maintenance of good health. Ayurveda, offers a range of customized lifestyle and dietary modifications to prevent kapha aggravation during the childhood period of life, that last up to age 16.
You can gift your children good health and inculcate in them healthy lifestyle practices by consulting our panel of highly qualified and experienced doctors at UWAY.
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